Dementia Has Dictated
The course of history
might have been very different if some of the world's past leaders and dictators had seen a psychiatrists, according to doctors.
Dr George El-Nimr said World War II might not have happened if past US president Woodrow Wilson had bowed down to his dementia.
Stalin and Franklin D
Roosevelt most probably had dementia too, he said.
El-Nimr and colleagues
spoke at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' annual conference in Harrogate.
El-Nimr, from Haywood
Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent, and his colleagues Dr Baseem Habeeb, at Mersey NHS Trust, and Dr Emad Sulib, senior lecturer in
psychiatry at Liverpool University, looked at the possible impact dementia may have had on seven world leaders.
Early detection and treatment
of this could have benefited the future of those countries and even the world. Millions of Russians might have been saved
from death if the dictator Stalin had seen a psychiatrist, they believe.
They told doctors attending
the conference that Stalin's behavior could easily be explained by dementia following a series of strokes.
"This might be an explanation
for the florid paranoia, dimming of superior intellect and the unleashing of his most sadistic personality traits," said El-Nimr.
He said Franklin D Roosevelt's
dementia might have impaired negotiations with Stalin at Yalta
at the end of World War II in 1945.
Peace not war
World War II might never
have happened if the US president around
the time of the end of World War I, Woodrow Wilson, had stepped down after developing dementia, the researchers suggest.
It might then have been
possible to persuade Congress to ratify the Versailles Treaty, which, in turn, would have led to the US
embracing the League of Nations and possibly have averted the war, they said.
El-Nimr said the British
Prime Minister Harold Wilson as an example of the best case scenario.
The shock resignation
of Harold Wilson in 1976 was down to his "remarkable awareness" a year earlier of his cognitive deterioration, said El-Nimr.
According to the researchers,
other leaders who developed dementia include Urho Kekkonen of Finland
and British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald.
"It was obvious that some
had what we call dementia," said El-Nirm.
"It's not only to do with
memory, it is to do with things like decision making, prioritizing and sense of direction as well.
"If these have been affected
this can obviously effect people's decisions, even in the early stages of dementia," he said.
He said people with high
intellectual function before they get dementia might function well for longer and people might not notice, but their condition
would still affect their performance at work.
"Early detection and treatment
of this could have benefited the future of those countries and even the world," he said.